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Walter Mason Camp collections

Walter Mason Camp (1867-1925)

L. Tom Perry Special Collections is pleased to announce the availability of a new landing page for the Walter Mason Camp collections (MSS 57 and MSS P 16). This new landing page will provide increased access to researchers of these important collections with links to the finding aids and digital collections to both the Walter Mason Camp papers (MSS 57) and the Walter Mason Camp photographs (MSS P 16). Previously only a selection of Camp photographs had been available online digitially. Now, all original photographs in the collection have been digitized and are available online. Some of the photographs include disturbing images, and warnings have been provided to researchers as needed.

Also available on the landing are links to the finding aids of two other signficant Camp collections at the Lilly Library at Indiana University-Bloomington and Denver Public Library.  The Lilly Library has also digitized their collection.

L. Tom Perry Special Collections at BYU is one of three primary repositories of the papers and photographs of author, editor and researcher Walter Mason Camp. Camp is most known for his interviews of hundreds of Native Americans and white soldiers involved in the American Indian Wars of the late 19th century. Along with BYU Special Collections, papers related to Camp and his research are housed in the Lilly Library on the campus of Indiana University-Bloomington and the Denver Public Library.

Red Star, ca. 1880

The Walter Mason Camp papers (MSS 57) at BYU consist of 9 boxes (4 linear ft.) of materials pertaining to Camp’s research on the Indian Wars of the Plains (1864-1890), with an emphasis on the Battle of Little Bighorn of 1876. The collection Includes his personal correspondence with officers, enlisted men, and Indian Scouts of the U.S. 7th Calvary. It also contains Walter Camp’s interviews with Native American individuals associated with the battles, general research and field notes. The collection is arranged into seven series or groupings: 1) Biographical information; 2) Correspondence; 3) Interviews; 4) Notes; 5) Typescripts of selected interview; 6) Writings; and 7) Research and reference file. These papers were compiled by Camp with the end purpose of being drafted into a book on the topic. Materials are largely textual comprising correspondence, notes, clippings, typescripts, publications, blueprints, maps, and related printed material. The collection materials date from approximately 1870 to 1943.

BYU also houses a large photograph collection related to Walter Mason Camp and his research (MSS P 16). These photographs were acquired at the same time as the Walter Mason Camp papers. The collection contains over 200 photographs of battlefields and Native American groups and portraits of noted individuals who were prominent in the Indian Wars including George A. Custer and other U.S. Army and Native American participants. Original prints (albumen, cartes-de-visite, cabinets, etc.) copy prints, postcards, halftones, engravings and selected copy negatives prepared by the repository staff. The bulk of the collection was compiled by Walter Mason Camp and pertains almost exclusively to the Indian Wars of North America from 1865 to 1890.

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